Introducing home automation systems
Smart home technology is no longer just a fun fad, but an integral part of how we live thanks to voice activation innovation
am looking to include some smart appliances in my home. I know there are sensor monitors and voice-activated products on the market, but they all sound very confusing. Do I actually need them?
While Millennials have been quick to adapt to technological changes and willingly engage in new tech trends, the rest of us have been slower to change. While the benefits may not be obvious to many homeowners, as our lives get busier there are real advantages to embracing devices that make life easier at work — and at home.
General manager, of Home IoT (Internet of Things) at Telstra says new ways of integrating your appliances — and monitoring their use — are already available through products such as the Telstra Smart Home system, which can automate home lighting, tell you who is coming and going from your house, and turn appliances on and off.
You are now able to interconnect compatible smart devices such as motion sensors, cameras, light bulbs, thermostats, smart power plugs and smart door locks.
Ed says these smart home options allow products to “talk to each other to make things around the house run a little smoother”.
As the technology develops, all those different elements can be controlled by the app on your mobile device. Alternatively, you can opt for Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, which is a Wi-Fi speaker that uses a voice command system to connect with other devices in the house.
Is this the future?
The short answer is yes, according to Ed. Telstra is continuing to roll out the technology with 15 smart devices now available. The company most recently added a water leak detector and a smart smoke alarm battery which can be monitored via a smart phone.
“We have been in the market for more than a year now with the smart home, and the core idea was to help people keep an eye on their property when they were away,” says Ed. “But, we also knew customers are concerned about rising energy costs, so we looked at how to better manage that.”
Ed says the market is slowly starting to understand the benefits of integrated smart home systems.
“It’s still early days for smart home systems in Australia, but we’re getting there,” he says.
Why use smart home apps?
Ed says viewing security footage through an app on the phone, or using smart lighting to turn on and off when you’re away, are just some of the reasons homeowners are warming to new products.
While an older security system may sound the alarm — and annoy the neighbours — Ed says smart home technology lets you view the footage on your phone and alert the authorities, or disable the alarm if the sensor has been triggered by, say, a pet.
“I have three young boys, and instead of leaving on a night light on for them, I have motion sensors in the bathroom, so if they need to go there during the night, the light will automatically turn on,” he says. “It makes my life easier and saves me money through automation.”
Why do it now?
Smart home technology has been around for a couple of years, so why are we only just starting to take notice? Ed says Google Home has a lot to do with it.
“Google has done a fantastic job of raising the awareness of the smart home in Australia,” he says. “Google Home lets you listen to music, set up timers and alarms, and it can work with a smart home control system to do a lot more,” he says. “People thought it was just a bit of fun at the beginning, before realising it can be an integral part of the home.”
While people like the fun factor of the technology, Ed says they’re not so keen about having to make the change to new products.
“But they don’t realise how simple they are to set up and once you get comfortable with using the apps on your phone, the smart home devices are easy to manage,” he says. “Of course, if you’re really uncomfortable, you can ask for a technician to come out, though that’s not often necessary.”
The technology in regards to integrated smart home products is moving along at a fast pace, with more activated products to be released to the market.
“We know with absolute certainty that voice will play a major role in the future of home management, in fact it already does,” Ed says. “It will change the way people interact in the home and how things that we used to do manually will be prompted to action through voice. Some things already have it, like smart lights, but we will see more of it.”
Google Home mini relies on voice commands to control access to music, the internet and more.
A discreetly positioned Wi-Fi camera can be linked to your smart phone.